Monthly Archives: August 2010

My Misguided Package

I don’t claim to understand how packages make their way from one location to another. I like to think that a shipment will go in the most direct manner, but my recent Monoprice order told me that a package can go a long ways in the opposite direction before it gets to its destination.

Ontario, California – Portland, Oregon: 1,348km
Portland, Oregon – Louisville, Kentucky: 3,000km
Louisville, Kentucky – Sioux Falls, South Dakota: 1,032km
Sioux Falls, Dakota – Calgary, Alberta: 1,550km
Calgary, Alberta – Edmonton, Alberta: 290km

Distance traveled from August 25 to August 27: 7,200km

The direct distance from Ontario, California to Edmonton, Alberta is 2,185km but this box travelled three times that distance. I wish I understood the logic of how this happens, perhaps there is a large depot in Kentucky or this was the easiest way to get the box to Canada in a matter of days. No matter, the box arrived (it suffered a dinged corner) but all things considered it must have had an interesting adventure.

My Third Tube Iteration

I failed my second annual Tube Steak Challenge but I am committed to regaining my first year form by consuming an average of more than one hot dog a week.

Weekly trips to the Sherwood Park Farmers’ Market have helped add to this number, and while none have been over an open fire that will be something I hope to resolve in the coming weeks.

My Painted Hands

For the last month if anyone asked us what was new we’d respond with: painting or working on the house. A journey that started on July 1 has carried on five weeks later with gallons of paint, endless rolls of green tape and Polyfill. We were happy with how the house looked but wanted to make improvements to a few wall colors. Unfortunately, once you start painting you can’t stop. You start looking at walls with a judging eye, you look at how the previous owners did their edging and wonder what color combinations would work.

I think because our first painting job was so easy (minimal wall imperfections, one coat and accomplished in a day) we thought we could take on the bigger task of painting the basement with ease. Five weeks later we are still doing work but the end is in sight. One day I went to Rona when it opened at 7:00AM and was there minutes before it closed at 6:00PM. We know our way around the paint department, became intimate with edging tools and mourned their loss when they started to shed and I always have one color of paint on my nails (today it is Sico’s “Black Pepper”).

We wanted to paint the basement a color to match our new couch, but the basement is more than just a single wall and after a prime and two coats of paint you realize how large a space is. The stairwell leading to the basement was still painted in a similar tone to the original basement color so that had to be updated, but in way that would match the downstairs color and work with the upstairs. The hallway that led out of the entertainment area needed to be painted since the color can’t stop. A simple project turned into a lot more, but we are in the home stretch and can start to enjoy our work.

I never took a proper ‘before’ photo of the work, so photos of how it looked before include decoration from the previous owners, but that makes the transformation that much more dramatic.

Living Room
There was a small discolored section that wasn’t noticeable with furniture in the room but when it was empty it stood out. The idea to paint the living came about the night before when I was asked what I wanted to do on Canada Day. When I didn’t have a response it was determined that we would paint!

The original wall color was similar to what we wanted so it didn’t require a prime or a second coat, which made the job a lot easier to accomplish.

This blue sponge work was all through the stairwell on the side door entrance. It carried up to the kitchen and down to the basement. The blue was a common theme in the previous color scheme and the shelves on the entertainment unit were painted in a similar blue sponge effect.

This dated paint schemed required a prime and two coats of paint to cover it up.

A chair rail divided the room which made for a logical way to separate the color. Beneath the rail was a blue with a tint of gray and above it was left white. We thought it was laziness to not paint above the rail, but as we worked our way around the basement we thought it was a pretty smart idea to skip this as it took an entire gallon of paint to complete.

The dry bar was originally blue but with the brown color scheme it stood out terribly so it was painted to match.

The entertainment unit was left until the end (and still requires a little bit of work on the shelves with the consoles and along the floor). The dry bar and entertainment unit received new hardware on the cabinet doors from wood to metal which was a worthwhile update. Once the blue was removed from the unit it immediately looked better, and by updating the brown color behind the TV it felt like it belonged.

Electrical Panel
There were no “before” photos of it, but it was awkward and stood out like a sore thumb. Access to it was complicated, and in a 40 year old house you visit the electrical panel often to check on a circuit trip. Originally there was a venetian blind covering the wooden door that you opened to access the panel. Beneath the wooden door was a shelf that went the width of the recessed wood. The shelf wasn’t sturdy enough to put a lot of weight on, not that you would because anything on the shelf would get in the way when you opened the wooden door.

We originally painted the wooden door a light brown but thought it stood out enough that we should make a statement with it, and since we hadn’t tortured ourselves enough with painting we purchased wallpaper for the project. After an all-around terrible experience at ICI Paints we had what we needed and applied the paper that night. I drilled a hole in the wooden door to make it close properly and installed a new knob to allow for easier opening and now the panel stands out but looks good while doing it.

For the last month the basement has been in various stages of messy. There is more we want to do downstairs, like renovating the laundry room, improving the bathroom or making something of the weird-bedroom-turned-storage-room but that won’t be for a while. For now we’re hoping to take a break from painting and concentrate our efforts elsewhere on the house so we can still say working on the house when someone asks what we’ve been up to.